How Presidents Announce Wars: From Reagan to George W. Bush

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For a generation, presidents have announced new military adventures from the Oval office, often in prime time and hours after the first bombs fall. It is a formula for projecting American power (the President at his desk) and humanity (the family photos on desk behind him). As the White House mulls a possible military strike on Syria, the Obama message experts have no doubt been preparing a public announcement that could go with it.

Here’s a quick guide to how it’s been done.

October 27, 1983: Ronald Reagan on Grenada and  Lebanon 

April 14, 1986: Reagan on Libya

December 20, 1989: George H.W. Bush on Panama

January 16, 1991: George H.W. on Iraq and Kuwait

December 16, 1998: Bill Clinton on Iraq

March 24, 1999: Bill Clinton on Kosovo

March 19, 2003: George W. Bush on Iraq